Nature-based solutions: Local authorities

Practical ways in which local authorities can act to support nature-based solutions.

NatureScot joined with COSLA, The Improvement Service, and the Sustainable Scotland Network to publish a briefing for Elected Members on Nature-based Solutions.

The briefing aims to raise awareness amongst councillors of the potential to harness nature in addressing a wide range of local shared socio-economic outcomes through actions in which local authorities can play a significant role.  It lists the high-level outcomes as:
  • Adapting to the impacts of climate change
  • Reducing carbon emissions and storing carbon safely
  • Preventing the loss of biodiversity and protecting our natural capital
  • Improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities
  • Building stronger and more resilient communities
  • Nurturing our young people
  • Supporting a Green Recovery and Just Transition
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Nature-based solutions
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  • The Climate Emergency and loss of nature
    - Develop climate change strategies that include nature, invest in green infrastructure and take action for pollinators
  • Young people, learning and play
    - Improve greenspace quality close to schools, provide places for outdoor learning and play and co-design projects with young people
  • Stronger communities and sustainable places
    - Make more use of the whole public estate for people and nature, grow the network of quality greenspaces for people and support the use of greenspaces by all
  • Health and wellbeing
    - Improve wellbeing through providing access to nature for all, improve and ‘green’ the active travel network and embed green exercise in health practice
  • Inclusive Economic Growth
    -  Attract inward investment through high quality places, invest in key natural visitor attractions and grow nature-based industries

See below a number of practical ways highlighted in the briefing in which local authorities can act to support nature-based solutions along with links to more information;

Care for nature through managing land and buildings and ensure that biodiversity is protected and enhanced through wildlife-friendly management of parks and greenspaces, pollinator corridors, new woodlands and local nature reserves.
Develop strategic approaches to spatial planning, transport and development that incorporate the multiple benefits of nature-based solutions.
Deliver high-quality greenspaces through Open Space Strategies and mapping of Integrated Habitat Networks.
Set out clear requirements for multi-functional green infrastructure within site development briefs, design frameworks and post-construction management plans.
Consider nature-based solutions in regional spatial strategies, masterplans, and local development plans.
Take practical measures such as including natural flood management measures in local flood risk management plans and boosting coastal habitat resilience through shoreline management plans.
Leverage private investment in nature-based solutions through developer contributions.
Facilitate outdoor recreation and active travel and connect people and nature through improved provision of paths, parks, green active travel routes, nature reserves.
Protect and restore features of biodiversity value such as wetlands, peatlands and floodplains, native woodland habitats, native grasslands, locally rare or threatened species populations, blue carbon habitats, maintain and enhance the biodiversity value of Vacant and Derelict Land.
Work with Community Planning Partnerships, the Community Learning and Development Service and the voluntary sector to facilitate community involvement in protecting and enhancing nature and increasing opportunities for people to benefit from and participate in managing their local environment.
Support and deliver outdoor learning and sustainable development education by building capacity and leadership within the early years and teaching profession.
Help to equip our workforce with the technical, leadership, and carbon literacy know-how to help us chart our way through an age of unprecedented change.
Secure improvements as outlined in the Sustainable Procurement Duty.
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